The Entrepreneurial Guide to Success

March 5, 2013

The Entrepreneurial Guide to Success

Joe Powers is the owner of the Canadian Honker, an unassuming “comfort food” restaurant in Rochester, MN. The restaurant is located directly across the street from St. Marys Hospital, part of the world famous Mayo Clinic. Heads of state, Fortune 100 executives, and media personalities are routinely cared for at Mayo–and the Canadian Honker. Joe expects to do $7.5 million in sales this year, but the secret to his success isn’t simply the location of his restaurant.

Three things have allowed Joe and his team to build a business that includes the restaurant, a significant catering business, an event center that will easily seat 600, and another event center inside of the Ramada Hotel. Those three things are:

1. Find your passion

2. Empower others

3. Check your ego

Find Your Passion

Joe has a passion for business–and it shows. He has a passion for his staff–and it shows. He has a passion for food service–and it shows. The Canadian Honker was awarded (again) the best place to get breakfast and the best comfort food in Rochester. Great awards, admits Joe, but the business goes well beyond that. Joe fully intends to own the catering and event niche in Rochester, and he is well on his way. And he is doing it by not just serving comfort food. Last year he catered 92 weddings at the Rochester Event Center and 45 weddings at the Events at Ramada. That goes well beyond breakfast and comfort food.

Passion and hard work have allowed Joe not only to achieve a lot, but to overcome a lot, too. Joe is severely dyslexic. He describes his condition as a blessing–nothing came easy to Joe and he learned to work hard while he was tutored by the Reading Center.

Passion. This is the first lesson in life–do something for which you have a passion. For Joe, that passion is growing a business in food service and taking care of his people. What is your passion?

Empower Others

Joe empowers his staff–all the way down to the wait staff–to make decisions that best serve the customer. If a customer wants six shrimp with his meal (as opposed to the normal serving of four shrimp), the server is given the authority to determine the up-charge–period. If a customer wants breakfast at 2 PM, the customer can order breakfast at 2 PM–regardless of what it says on the menu–period.  Empowering his people empowers the customer.  And a satisfied customer will be a return customer.

Empowerment. This is the first lesson in business–empower your employees and they will take you to places that you cannot imagine.  What are you doing to empower your people?

Check Your Ego

Leave it in your back pocket, says Joe. If you want to empower others and do what’s best for your business, you can’t let your ego get in your way. Joe and his management team meet regularly to discuss how to make the business better. What Joe cares about are the ideas, not whether they were his.  Joe can be seen working the floor, busing tables, and delivering food.  Sometimes things get really busy and Joe is there to pick up the slack when needed.

Ego. This is the first thing to let go of–leave it in your back pocket. How does your ego show up at work and at home?

This is the Entrepreneurial Joe’s Guide to Success? What’s your guide to success?

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